The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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airpsfic: (this is) not a statement, 7/10
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
(this is) not a statement, 7
by Seperis
AIRPS, Adam, Kris, Adam/Kris
Notes: I still can't think of a summary for this. It's sad. Title from starandrea who named it in delicious and saved me the effort, as titles stress me. Thanks to tricksterquinn and transtempts for reading and girlnamedpixley for being above and beyond awesome.

first part, second part, third part, fourth part, fifth part, sixth part, seventh part, eighth part, ninth part, tenth part



Adam doesn't bother with pleasantries; he's two months and thirty-three hours on the road past patience. "It's two, Kris."

From the other side of the phone, Adam can hear Kris sigh, the background hum of the studio so familiar that Adam thinks he could identify it in his sleep. Probably Kris can too, considering his habit of falling asleep on one of the couches when he can't keep on his feet anymore. "Adam," Kris says, the thick Arkansas drawl so evident that Adam wants to throw his phone through the wall. "I know. Since I can tell time. These nifty inventions called watches--"

"Shut the fuck up." Tossing his jacket on the dressing room couch, Adam stares down his PA when she tries to come in, looking grim before the expression dissolves into uncertainty. It's not unfamiliar; his PA during his first tour had started looking like that pretty much all the time at the end. Gritting his teeth, he jerks his head at her and shuts the door, barely able to control the urge to slam it in her face. It's not her fault. "So this is like, a sincere effort to kill yourself with work?"

Kris snorts. "A few hours of missed sleep--"

"For almost two months," Adam answers, performance adrenaline still too sharp to keep the edge of his temper blunted. "Two fucking months, Kris--"

"I can count too," Kris snaps back, but the exhaustion beneath it drains away most of the bite. "Look, I'm on a schedule here, and I don't have your leverage to fuck around if I feel like it. So back the fuck off. I don't need this."

"You need something," Adam answers, kicking a chair out of his way. "You spend all your time in the studio, and that's not even fucking hyperbole at this point--when's the last time you actually went home for longer than to take a shower?"

"Oh," Kris answers, voice rising, "got Leo watching me again? Ever heard stalking is creepy?"

"Ever heard being a bitchy martyr is fucked up? 19E doesn't want you dead or picking up new and exciting addictions, that's not a business model they embrace--"

"So you think I'm doing drugs now?"

"I don't know, are you?" Adam knows in the semi-sane part of his mind that tour slowly but surely wears down that he needs to stop this, stop this now, but it's been two months of this, Kris at the studio like he'll die if he so much as walks out the door, and even Cale and Leah haven't been able to get him out. Burnout starts like this, and Kris can be as offended as he wants, but there aren't a lot of people that end up in rehab who had a life goal to become junkies. It's what the business can do to you if you let it. "Kris, listen to me. What you're doing isn't just stupid, it's dangerous and it's--"

"Adam," Kris says, and Adam stills, the words slipping away. Kris doesn't sound angry anymore. He doesn't sound like anything at all. "You know--because you're the one that kept telling me over and over--how important this album is. I can't fuck around on it, I can't--I can't get this wrong."

"You won't." When Adam's knee hits the small couch, he drops onto it, abruptly exhausted. They've had this fight for weeks, and the only thing that's changing is how fast it turns into a shouting match, each conversation shorter than the last. "Look," he breathes, lowering his voice with a physical effort, "go visit your parents for a few days. Take Cale and get out of town, or go see Leah. Go, I don't know, visit your wife," and that he actually invokes Katy should be a sign of how deadly serious this is, "but whatever it is, get out of that fucking studio. Just for a couple of days."

Kris is quiet for a few seconds, and Adam almost lets himself hope, which is stupid, because this is Kris. "I can't, Adam. You know that."

That's all it takes. "Fine. You know what? Fuck it. Call me when you feel like acting like a reasonable adult." Before Kris can answer, Adam hangs up, turning it off and dropping it on the couch before he throws it at the wall. Taking a deep breath, Adam catches sight of himself in the mirror and flinches. It's been three years, but he can still recognize the guy looking back at him, the one that maybe went a little crazy near the end, the one that even his band had started looking at like a stranger. He'd lost a drummer and a PA and more nameless techs than he thinks he ever wants to know about and gained a tabloid reputation. Somehow, he'd thought it would be different this time around.

Stripping his boots, Adam leaves the rest of his costume on the floor for someone else to deal with and gets dressed, grabbing his bag on the way to the door, hoping that he can get out of here without alienating anyone else tonight. Before he reaches it, however, the door opens and Tommy peers in with a smile that doesn't hide the wariness.

"Not now," Adam says. "Seriously."

"Seriously," Tommy says, coming in and shutting the door behind him before leaning against it in unmistakable message, "now."

Adam takes a deep breath; the problem is that Tommy's probably the safest target here and just because your friends will put up with your shit no matter what doesn't mean you inflict it on them just because they're there. "I need sleep," Adam says carefully. "Let it go."

"Sure," Tommy answers easily, "and that works. Come on. You've been itching for a fight with someone you can actually see flinch, so let's get it over with." Tommy grins. "Bring it, superstar."

"Tommy--" Adam starts, eyes narrowing, "really, really get the fuck out now."

"Is this really working for you?" Tommy makes a gesture that could indicate Adam or the entirety of the last two months. "I'm not saying the diva thing isn't hot; I'm saying there's diva and then there's homicide investigations, and we'll be in Vegas in a week. Why are you trying to fuck up my plans here?"

Adam abruptly remembers he's never successfully won an argument with Tommy. "Why do I like you?"

"I give good head." Tommy tilts his head, eyes flickering to the phone on the couch and then back so quickly Adam could have imagined it. "Speaking of, change of plans." Taking a baggie out of his pocket, Tommy waves it enticingly. "I come bearing gifts. Fight, fuck, or fucking do not care: door three work for you?"

Adam snorts, but he feels the worst of the frustration draining away. With a sigh, Adam drops on the couch, leaning back to stare vaguely at the ceiling. "I thought you wanted me to fight with you."

Joining him on the couch, Tommy grins. "Well, yeah. But it was more fun when you fucked me after," he says. "I'd offer, but I get the feeling that would just make it worse."

Adam looks at him, tempted despite the fact it's probably truer than Tommy knows. "One to ten, how does this compare to the end of the last tour?"

"Seven and a half," Tommy says flatly. "But this isn't the same. This time around's been a hell of a lot easier. You're not being watched like you were, and up until pretty recently, you've been fine. So whatever, you need to not think for a while."

Adam looks at Tommy sharply, but Tommy is playing with his lighter, looking a little too pleased with himself. Despite himself, he smiles.

"Want to get out of here now?" Tommy says hopefully. "Maybe not traumatize any helpless techs or your PA? Her ex works for TMZ, you know."

"She's been reminding me." Standing up, Adam glances at his phone, then shoves it in the bag and zips it up. "We're in Vegas in a week?" Adam tries to remember where they are now and fails spectacularly.

"For a week," Tommy says encouragingly, opening the door and shoving him out. Unsurprisingly, there aren't many people around. "Do some interviews, eat some sushi, get some sleep, get laid. Not necessarily in that order. All at once, if you feel like it."

"I don't like sushi in Vegas," Adam lies a little sullenly; he has no locational sushi preferences.

Tommy looks at Adam from under a fall of black hair; just barely, Adam sees him smirk. "Few days in LA might be fun," he offers blandly. "We can entertain ourselves without you." Before Adam can think of an answer to that, Tommy darts ahead. "Come on."




Their second morning in Vegas, Adam stares at the door of the suite and wishes, not for the first time, that will alone would be enough to kill whoever is knocking at the asscrack of dawn. It's been nearly five minutes and anyone sane would have gone the fuck away.

Slowly, Adam climbs out of bed, and it takes pretty much all his self-control not to pick something up from the desk for the purposes of manslaughter. It's a Vegas hotel. They have people that handle things like that.

Opening the door, Adam tries to remember if he took something last night and just didn't notice. "Kris."

Kris looks at him warily as Adam catalogues the strain around the slowly fading hopeful smile, the circles under his eyes, the wary set of his body, and spares a thought for Tommy, who dumped Adam in his room their first night after the performance and told him if he left it before noon, the entire band was going to quit and good fucking luck finding anyone else after what Tommy would tell anyone who would listen.

"So you said I needed to get out of the city," Kris says after an uncomfortable silence, eyes fixed just beyond his shoulder and trying really hard not to look like he's sure Adam is going to slam the door in his face mid-word. "So I thought, you know. This is out of LA. Thought I might stop by and say hi. If you're not busy--"

"Oh shut up," Adam breathes, pulling him inside and into a desperate hug as he kicks the door shut. "When I say don't call, I mean, please keep calling, okay?"

"Yeah, this really wasn't working for me either," Kris breathes, voice tight. "Grand gesture. You make them look really easy and they're just not."

"It's a gift." Pulling back just enough to see his face, Adam smiles, and for the first time in what seems like years, it feels like something he actually wants to do. "You look like shit, baby."

Kris grins tiredly. "Thanks. Cale says hi, by the way, and he's Fed'exing my return ticket to you. I'm not allowed back in LA until I can start using sentences that don't start with 'fuck you'." Kris looks confused. "When did I start doing that? My mamma taught me better than that."

"Your mamma will blame me and there go my regular baked good shipments." Adam bites his lip, reluctantly letting Kris go at the first tug. He doesn't go further than the nearby chair, toeing off his shoes with a deep sigh before standing up a little unsteadily. "I like this undressing thing. It means you want to sleep." Pushing Kris' fumbling hands away, he unbuttons Kris' jeans, slipping them down his hips, crouching a little to work the surprisingly tight denim down Kris' legs, then pauses, feeling nostalgic. "There was a time I would undress people and didn't think of sleep at all. I miss that."

Kris braces a hand on Adam's shoulder, stepping free with a sigh and tossing his jacket toward the chair. "I hate to tell you this, but I'd probably sleep through it anyway." As Adam straightens, Kris leans into him. "So, you were right--a little--about the studio time. I cut my schedule down. But there was a thing for Leah and I had a meeting with my publicist and--" Kris breaks off with a yawn, looking confused. "There may have been a label party last night and Cale made me go. I'm kind of hoping I was slipped acid and it was a bad trip, but I'm pretty sure it actually happened."

Adam's been to those enough to guess. "It's never acid," he answers, pulling Kris into the bedroom. "But it's easier to live with if you imagine it was." Sitting on the edge of the bed, he takes a deep breath, the sick weight of the last few weeks fading away. Looking up at Kris, he starts to ask what on earth he's waiting for when Kris steps between his knees and leans down, mouth warm and soft and sweet despite slightly stale coffee and what Adam's learned is what airplanes taste like.

Kris pulls back after a few long seconds, eyes heavy-lidded and nervous. "Hi," he says uncertainly. "Just in case you felt insecure. I could have called anyway. I didn't."

Adam blinks up at him for a second, realizing his hands are resting on Kris' hips, thumbs rubbing slow circles into the bare skin beneath his t-shirt. "Yeah," he breathes, unable to stop the smile. "You still win."

"I know." Stepping back, Kris crawls onto the bed and beneath the covers with a heartfelt sigh. Eyes closed, he reaches out and grabs the edge of Adam's shirt, tugging. "Sleep now."

Grinning, Adam collapses beside him, brushing gently at the hair covering Kris' eyes. "I really like you," he says softly. Kris snorts, pulling Adam closer before curling an arm around his waist with a sigh, forehead pressing against his shoulder and murmuring, "I kind of like you, too."




It's past dusk when Adam decides to seriously consider getting up. Kris is less sure, but he is willing to be convinced if there's coffee involved.

"So what are your plans anyway?" Adam asks, prudently waiting until Kris has finished his first cup of coffee. His hair is a hilarious mess, and Adam can't get over the difference about an inch of length makes. Very semi-Bohemian, like Kris should be wearing environmentally friendly shoes and smoking clove cigarettes, possibly in an independently owned cafe. Maybe wearing some type of quirky hat. "Katy let me have you for a night? It's Vegas. We're kind of contractually obligated to be photographed doing something stupid in public."

"I saw that in the fine print, yeah." Kris waits for Adam to refill the cup. "Katy's in the middle of filming a spirit quest in the desert or something." Kris waves a tired hand. "She explained it a few weeks ago? There were dreamcatchers involved, I didn't get much more. That's not why I came." Kris grins suddenly. "Interesting story, though. Tommy caught me downstairs when I was trying to call up and booked me a room down the hall. Apparently, I'm not allowed to leave until you're in a better mood. I miss when you were seeing him. I didn't hate him, and he taught me cool guitar riffs." Kris raises his eyebrows. "Anything you want to talk about?"

"That I'm an awful rockstar cliché?"

Kris cracks up, refilling his cup before cutting off a piece of French toast. "You're a fabulous rockstar cliché." After a few bites, he pokes at the tray. "Eat something. If you even try that diet shit, I swear this will be a week of bakeries and room service chocolate. Which you can't resist and you know it."

Adam frowns, but Kris holds out his fork, a triangle of white-dusted toast waiting. Rolling his eyes, Adam leans forward and takes the bite, looking over the tray to see what he'd actually ordered. "Not so much, no. How long are you staying?"

Kris shrugs. "Until you leave, I guess. Cale took my keys when he dropped me off at the airport." Picking up a sliced strawberry, Kris hesitates. "I really did cut my schedule. You weren't the only one who was yelling at me. You're just the only one I couldn't hang up on."

"I was going to call this week," Adam says, staring at the plates. "Ask you to bring me some sushi from that place near your condo?"

Kris cocks his head, fork hesitating mid-air. "I thought you hated it."

Adam grins, glancing up. "Well, yeah. I--" Adam thinks about how to phrase this; sufficient sleep does in fact make it easier to have a conversation. "It's not easy, I get that, and I get why you're doing it like this. And it's a good way to burn out fast."

"I'm not giving up." Kris looks up briefly, then scoops up a forkful of eggs. "I didn't really--I didn't know how much I wanted this until I was working with Leah. The first time I did this, I didn't--I didn't feel that way about it, not even close. But with them--" Kris leans his head on one hand, chewing thoughtfully. "It was so different. It's not, you know, fame and money and everything--"

"Says the boy whose guitar hobby has its own credit card."

Kris rolls his eyes. "Whatever. I'm saying, I get I'm overdoing it, but this time, I know what I'm working for. It's different." Kris frowns. "It's harder to stop. It's harder to even want to."

Adam nods slowly, stealing another piece of Kris' French toast. "That's why you have people who know and will do it for you when you can't." And that's one thing Adam's never lacked, from Brad to Tommy, because if they asked, if they meant it, he could stop. Katy could do it, but Katy's on a vision quest (a what?), and unfortunately, the people around Kris with any kind of influence consist of Cale, who only pretends he doesn't think Kris walks on water, a few other LA friends, who don't even bother pretending, and apparently, Kris' pet Austin band, who Adam suspects from the few times he's seen them interact are under the impression Kris couldn't do anything wrong if he tried. Jared's thing with Kris probably hadn't helped there; they'd still be too sensitive to Kris' feelings to fight him down.

From the look on Kris' face, he's guessing that's probably more true than any of them want to admit. "They shouldn't have to," Kris says, busying himself with the remaining fruit. "I can do this."

"Bullshit." Stealing the last of the French toast, Adam shoves a pillow against the headboard and leans back against it, amused at Kris following the progress of the plate with wistful eyes. "I hid your shoes and your wallet, just in case you want to storm out," Adam adds helpfully. "I'll talk to Cale and make you a schedule. Wait. I also have your keycard. Ready to listen?"

"Adam--"

"We can keep having this same fight over and over, or we can have new and interesting fights about totally different things in endless variety." Adam cocks his head. "Your choice. I'm on tour. It's not like I have a lot to do on a bus all day. And the studio manager won't block my calls. He likes me."

Kris makes an unhappy face. "Probably more than he does me. But--"

"I want you to have this," Adam says. "I'd just like you functional during the process and after. Trust me?"

"Yes." Kris pushes the nearly empty tray away; Adam hadn't realized they'd nearly finished it and take a moment to think of his trainer, but whatever. "But--"

"There might be a reward system involved," Adam offers, holding out the fork with the last piece of toast. "It'll be fun!"

"Your ideas of fun end up with me in East LA--"

"You had fun, don't even."

"--with traumatic flashbacks every time I see fishnets. You lied. They itched and heels are never comfortable."

Grinning, Adam shoves the fork into Kris' mouth before he can say anything else. "You didn't say no."

Kris chews rebelliously for a second, then nods, saying dryly, "Do I ever?"

"Exactly. Fun."




Kris likes Vegas like kids like Disneyworld; it's a fairly apt comparison, all things considered. It's oversized and overdone and huge in this way that's as much about presence as it is about space. Adam had loved it from the first time he'd seen it, rising out of the Nevada desert like an oversaturated dream, but Kris' reaction is on the order of a kid seeing Mickey Mouse every damn time.

Kris meets him for lunch the next day looking just a little dazed, which tells Adam exactly how he spent his morning; obviously, he had more fun than Adam did. "I'd be worried about your wallet, but you get bored sitting that long to lose too much money."

Kris smirks, starting to answer before his phone begins to ring. Taking it out, he glances at the screen, then stops with a slight frown. "Just a second," he says, raising it to his ear. "There's this sandwich place I found--"

"Have hoodie, will travel," Adam answers, following him down the sidewalk. Kris nods distractedly as he says, "Hey, Leah. What's up?"

Kris doesn't make much more than vague sounds for almost three minutes, but his expression is a story all in itself; from surprise to shock to incredulity and crashing to something like resignation and amused horror both. "Right," he says finally, sounding a little desperate. "Just call and--yeah, I know, I know, that's--well, okay. I’m not laughing. Just call when you arrive." Tucking his phone in his pocket, Kris stops short, looking at Adam. "So your crazy schedule plan? What do I get if I go along with it?"

Adam crosses his arms. "Oh, this has to be good."

"Adam," Kris says, looking worried. "Just say, I agree, and you and Cale can schedule the rest of my life. Please."

"I like to know what I'm agreeing to first. Otherwise, it's a good way to find yourself holding a flogger and someone in a collar barking like a dog--aww, you're blushing." Catching Kris' arm before he can start to pace, Adam grins down at him. "I can tell you the story, but I'm so much more interested in yours."

Kris makes a half-hearted attempt to pull away, but they're within smelling distance of the sandwiches and Kris is obviously torn. "I hate you."

"Buy me lunch and I'll think about it," Adam says, glancing inside to see enough people to make him wary. The streets aren't exactly deserted, but an enclosed space raises the chances of being recognized. "We'll go to the park. I get the feeling this going to be fascinating."

Kris hesitates, then nods in resignation, looking inside with the same calculating expression. He's traveled enough with Adam to get basic precautions. "There's a park nearby," Kris offers in resignation. "Meet you there"

Kris comes back with three sandwiches, two bags of chips, two bottles of water, and a box of cookies. Adam tries not to feel betrayed, sitting on the top of the picnic table as Kris straddles the bench and says, "So the band is coming to Vegas."

"They have something here?" Adam opens the box, ignoring Kris' smug grin, and picks chocolate chip. "Okay, shock me."

Kris unwraps his sandwich a little despondently. "There's this club opening?" he says, looking at the bread like it personally offended him. "It's a friend of the band. They were invited to come by to see it."

"Anticlimactic." Adam gets another cookie and opens the bottle of water, ignoring Kris' glare. "Keep going."

"By friend, I mean, former band members, plural. Jared's exes." Kris takes a bite to let Adam work out exactly who that means. "Apparently, bygones are bygones and everyone should be friends or something, Leah wasn't clear."

"Everyone likes having friends who have singles in the top forty and climbing," Adam answers. "Just to make sure I get this--Jared's exes invited them for the opening, because it's one thing to hold a grudge when they're going nowhere in Austin, but another when they're working LA, and they want the exposure."

Kris nods, looking grim. "Pretty sure. Leah's kind of--they were friends since they were like, in diapers or something, but it's a lot of history. So she wants to go, and I'm pretty sure she's not thinking publicity, but--"

"You are." Kris gives him a cynical nod. "Context; how bad a breakup?"

"Depends on who you ask, but Leah hooked me up with a few of the regulars on the Austin circuit when I was down there, and I keep in touch. Let's say no one's forgotten the fallout after SXSW, and that's saying something. I'd say bad with a sideorder of worse. He was twenty when it happened, and it shows."

Adam winces, trying a pecan raisin; how appropriate when talking about Texas. "So--"

"I have to be there," Kris says. "I mean, I don't, but--Jared doesn't do grudges and neither does Leah. They like to help their friends. They kind of--do that. A lot."

"How big is their entourage now anyway?" Adam asks in interest, opening the chips. "They have a lot of friends, I noticed. More than most people not in politics or with a black book and client list."

Kris blows out a breath. "Larger than the crew on my last tour. And everyone's coming along for the ride."

Adam nods sympathetically and reaches for his sandwich. "And you want me there," he says a little fatalistically. "For my media draw. In case Jared does something stupid."

"Well," Kris says, looking up with wide eyes. "You're Adam Lambert."

"I'm Adam Lambert," Adam agrees. "So. I go to be a big distraction for your pet band--"

"I'll be there," Kris offers hopefully. "We haven't been clubbing together in a while. It'll be fun."

"--but what do I get out of this?"

Kris braces an elbow on Adam's knee, tilting his head thoughtfully. "Schedule rights."

"I'll have those anyway; Cale likes me." Adam watches Kris' expression turn calculating. "Now what can you, personally, offer me for my presence at what is likely to be a media disaster?"

"Good question," Kris says, pushing himself up on his knees in a surprisingly sinuous movement, brown eyes dancing, "What have you wanted to do to me since the first time you looked in the closet in our room at the mansion?"

Adam crumples up the paper wrapper in surprise. That's an offer. "Head to toe, you get two--two--vetoes."

"No fishnets and no stilettos."

"Done." Sliding off the table, Adam puts the remaining cookies into the bag and tosses the rest into the trash. "Then I think it's time to go shopping."

"Um." Kris finishes his water and scrambles to his feet. "It's not until tomorrow--"

"You didn't specify it was just for a night out, and yes, I noticed you didn't bring luggage." Looking Kris up and down, taking in the loose jeans and oversized hoodie over a plain t-shirt, Adam starts to smile, reaching to pull at the shoulder of the hoodie Kris had stolen from his closet before they left; what Kris has against things that aren't five sizes too large, Adam doesn't know. "I have a lot of work to do. We'll start with the basics. In some places not Arkansas, we call those correct sizes."




Tommy fights it for all of five minutes, but Kris has this way of looking at people that makes them feel like they might just go to hell if they don't agree. If Adam believed in hell, and hadn't lived up close and personal with that look for so long, it might even work on him. Work more than it does. "Fine, whatever, I'll tell everyone we're on a mission of mercy," he sighs, tilting his chair back on two legs and smirking when Kris grins at him. "Cale's coming?"

"He's coming out tomorrow to talk me out of going," Kris says, head on one hand. "I know this sucks--"

"Hey. Can't be worse than the year of stalker twink and Adam hiding in the closet with a decided lack of irony every time he showed up." Tommy glances at Adam with dancing eyes. "Still an improvement on Alex."

"You should take Adam back," Kris says sincerely. "Your girlfriend wouldn't mind. She's cool."

"God, when you say that in that drawl, it's like watching an angel lose its wings," Tommy answers as Adam blinks between them in alarm. "I met Jared last time I was in LA. That one doesn't know how to not beg for attention. Speaking of--"

"They're rented a house or something for the week, they weren't clear," Kris says with a sigh. "They asked me to stop by tonight--"

"I'd offer to go with you, but I have to wash my hair." Tommy looks at him sympathetically. "But seriously. You'll be okay?"

Kris stares at him in slowly growing suspicion, then looks at Adam with narrowed eyes. "Why would I need someone to go with me, Adam?"

"Because Leo called when Adam was really high in our bus and forgot his indoor voice." Tommy lets his chair down with a thump. "We all learned a very valuable lesson; don't stick your hand down Kris Allen's pants without written permission, and maybe not then unless Adam personally witnessed it. It was great. You have a hell of an arm, Allen."

Kris rolls his eyes and tries not to smile, getting to his feet. "So I owe you. I mean, Adam does, actually. I better go. If this is like the last little gathering they had, I need to stake out a seat early. Maybe take something to read."

Adam ignores Tommy smirking at him. "Mind if I tag along?"

"I'm not a girl who needs an escort so my virtue remains intact," Kris says incredulously. "Don't laugh, Tommy."

"Wouldn't dream of it." Standing up, Tommy grins at them both. "Leaving now so that hair washing can commence early. Have fun, kids."

Adam's betrayed look is wasted on Tommy's back, giving him no reason to avoid looking at Kris. "So you ready to go?" Adam asks the air to the right of Kris' ear. "I like good seats."

Kris doesn't answer, dragging out the silence from uncomfortable to actively unpleasant. "I don't need you to protect me from my friends," Kris says flatly. "I won't even start on the assumptions behind the idea because that's a conversation I'd really never have--"

"That's not why." Adam doesn't move from his comfortable sprawl on the armchair, though it's a lot less comfortable with Kris staring at him like that. Tilting his head back, he keeps his eyes on the ceiling. "And kind of insulting you'd think that, by the way."

"You don't even like them."

"I like Leah." He does. She's small and funny and terrifying in six inch platform boots with a faint east Texas drawl when she's tired. She's also an amazing musician, and while Jared's the one who does most of their writing, hers isn't anything to sneeze at either. "But again, not the point."

"Adam--"

"You've been here two days and it's been two months since I last saw you," and not mentioning the uncomfortable morning after their fight when Kris drove him to the airport, "and we've been arguing non-stop for weeks. Forgive me for resenting that you want to wander off to play with your little friends that you see pretty much every day and don't even think to ask me to come along."

Kris doesn't answer; Adam pushes himself up to see Kris frowning. "I thought--" Kris shakes himself, surprised. "I thought maybe you'd want--you don't have a lot of time and I'm making you go to that club, so you might want tonight to, you know," Kris makes an uninterpretable gesture, cheeks starting to redden. "I just thought I'd get out of the way."

Adam tries to work out what on earth Kris thinks Adam does that he couldn't be around for, then wonders why he even needs to ask that question. "Is this a hint I need to get laid?" Adam asks. "Because you know me, if I'm not reminded to have sex, I'll forget--"

Kris covers his face with one hand. "Shut up. I was trying to be discreet, okay?"

"First you try to pimp me out to Tommy--and yes, I know his girlfriend wouldn’t mind, she's told me, repeatedly--now, what, do you have a list of suggestions on who I should entertain myself with--"

"Adam," Kris says, muffled, "you want to come to a really lame party with me?"

"Not if I have to make you ask me," Adam says a little sulkily, slumping. "S'okay, high school flashbacks and everything, don't worry about it--"

Kris drops his hand, biting his lip against laughter. "I'd really like you to come."

"I could go pick up that bartender," Adam says thoughtfully. "Or watch cable. Five million channels, there's got to be something to watch…"

Kris kicks his ankle before perching on the arm of the chair and leaning into his shoulder. "Please come to a party with me. All the cool kids will be there. Their parents are away and I heard the punch is going to be spiked."

Adam considers it. "I guess. For the punch."

"Thought so." Kris slides back to the floor, picking up Adam's hoodie and pulling it back on. "I wish Cale had let me pack before he dropped me off," he says, frowning slightly, like they didn't wipe through the strip earlier and Kris nearly had to be blackmailed into buying new jeans. It was worth the effort; Adam's enjoyed the view since Kris came back from his shower. "Ready?"

"Absolutely."




There's sadly no punch, but there are far too many eighteen-to-twenty-five year olds for one medium-sized house, and at times like this, Adam remembers why he doesn't really miss his early twenties as much as he probably is supposed to. The energy is cool, but the lack of common sense is even less fun than it was back then, when Adam would wonder uncomfortably if he was missing something important in his growth and development in preferring not to have a three day hangover if he could help it. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but when you had a six am rehearsal and your voice was shot, you learned to pace yourself.

Adam hadn't been exaggerating about the number of people who Jared and Leah now had following them around, either. Between the UT dropouts talking nihilism, the twenty-something graduates from hipster emo, the thirty-something Indie music snobs, and a couple of fourth street club kids (ages undetermined, but Adam's learned the hard way to keep a wide berth when ID wasn't available), it's basically a subsection of every subculture that loathes everything both popular and mainstream, and in a weird, surreal, and hilarious turn of events, Adam Lambert has managed to become just that.

So. Fun.

Leah and her husband had finally colonized the bedroom with an exit to the deck and locked the door to those high out of their minds or desperately trying to convince Adam to help them identify their sexuality (read: way too many people). Half of them are either musicians or think they want to be. So that part's pretty familiar; like LA, really, but with a highly distracting drawl.

"Sellouts unite," Leah says from the floor, raising her glass solemnly and spoiling it with a helpless giggle. Kris raises his beer with a nod of solidarity before leaning back into Adam's knee, looking up with pleasantly hazy eyes. "Think we have any music cred left?"

"Last time I checked, they were deconstructing Adam's second album and his 'vision'." Kris gives Adam an earnest smile. "You'd better go out the window if you want to get out of here with your virtue intact. They're really determined."

"That's why I kept you between us," Adam answers, taking the bong with a sigh. "Where did you get this and can you get more?"

Leah smirks. "Anything for you Adam," slow-drawled, husky, and not for the first time, Adam wonders why Jared's the only singer. She does backup vocals, but the album's fingerprints are Jared entirely, with the lightest touch of Kris Allen bringing it together into an interesting whole. "God. When Pen said she wanted to ask a few people over, I really did think she meant a few, not everyone she's ever met."

"You live, you learn," Kris says, smiling when Jared comes back balancing a makeshift tray of bottles and kicking the door shut behind him as Dennis quickly locks it again.

"Leah," Jared says with fragile calm, "I'm not going back out there. Here. Bottles. Have fun."

"The trials of fame," Adam says mockingly, giving the bong to Dennis and vaguely tempted to stretch out on the bed and just feel this. In LA, even with friends, there's still pressure to perform; at least here, the Indie kids try and pretend popular culture is beneath them. Then they offer blowjobs, which just makes it that much more surreal and awesome. "Try going to Whole Foods after midnight and still have to call for a car, then you can complain."

Kris leans his head against Adam's knee and gives him an amused look. "I saved that footage."

"And fuck you, baby."

"The best part was the car chase. The trials of fame." Taking the drink Leah gives him, he passes it up to Adam, taking the next one for himself. "I could so tell you stories--"

"Like that UPS box of thongs from Tampa?" Adam asks. Leah's eyes widen. "Oh, right, that was for Kris."

Kris flushes, ducking his head to hide his face. "It wasn't--"

"All with different phone numbers. Like, a slumberparty group project that went horribly wrong." Unable to help himself, Adam ruffles Kris' hair. "He didn't stop blushing for a week. They put up a website about it."

Leah gasps helplessly into her hands; Dennis and Jared don't bother hiding their laughter. Leah's husband doesn't change expression, but he conveys amusement via eyebrows. That Adam now knows them well enough to recognize that is somehow even funnier.

"Sexbox," Kris says, hand closing around Adam's calf to steady himself. "Two dildos, bright pink, three packages of Wet, and a ball gag--"

"Two marriages on the astral plane complete with certificates printed at Kinkos," Adam retaliates. "Bigamy is so very American Idol--"

"Floggers thrown on stage--"

"Handcuffs with an attached sketch--"

"--of who was supposed to use them on me and how." Kris smirks, taking a sip of his drink. "It was a good likeness of you, but I don't think I’m that bendy."

Leah howls into the pillow Adam throws at her while Dennis buries his head in Jared's lap, shoulders shaking.

"Like I need instruction." Finishing his drink, Adam reaches for another pillow and lets himself tip over, careful not to jostle Kris. "And you could totally be that bendy."

"You get a lot of that?" Jared asks, watching Kris with sharply interested eyes. It hasn't escaped Adam's attention that Jared's kept a careful amount of space between them.

"After a while, our handlers started filtering it," Adam answers, glancing down at Kris, who shrugs, eyes flickering to Adam in shared amusement, because yeah, they'd gotten a lot of that, and just in case they missed it, the internet had even more.

"Your boyfriend didn't mind?" Jared says, looking at Adam now. Vaguely, Adam thinks this might be going somewhere, but Dennis drags himself up long enough to take another hit from the bong and pass it around, effectively distracting Adam to more interesting things.

"Not really." Adam takes it from Dennis and pushes himself up on one elbow. "Not really what I wanted to talk about when I saw him."

Kris smiles, heavy-lidded, taking it from Adam before getting his fingers tangled in Adam's shirt. "Come down here or you're going to fall asleep. You always do when you get comfortable. I'm not calling Jim to wake you up."

"But it's nice up here." Adam climbs down anyway; the floor is so much less comfortable, but he does feel a little more awake, enough to hear Kris say, "And before you ask, Katy didn't either."

"Does she now?" Jared asks, so lightly that it takes a few seconds to penetrate. Adam starts to stiffen; Leah looks up, smile not hiding the sharp worry; Dennis looks like he's fallen asleep in Jared's lap. "Never mind, I forgot; she's on location, right? What's up with Alex, anyway?"

"Jared," Leah starts, but Kris just rolls his eyes and finishes his drink, slumping a little more and looking impossibly relaxed. Adam adjusts his position enough for Kris to make himself comfortable against his shoulder, steadying him with a hand on his hip.

"We're friends," Kris says, passing his glass to Leah. "More of whatever that was, please?" And still so polite, Arkansas-thick. It's probably not the best time to remember what Kris had said about when Brad would call him, but no help for it. "Can we go outside yet or are Adam's new groupies still out there?"

Adam recognizes the very faint edge in Kris' voice and glances at Leah.

"I can get them inside," Leah says, slipping out of her shoes before getting to her feet. "I'm starting to feel claustrophobic, too. Wake Dennis up and bring everything outside, Jared."

Kris smiles at her but doesn't move; Adam waits until everyone's left and the sliding door shuts again before he tilts Kris' head up. "You okay?"

"Just a little--walls?" He makes a vague motion. "I'm fine. Just some air would be nice."

"I've never seen you stoned," Adam observes, getting carefully to his feet. Kris holds out his hands imperiously. "I need to remember this."

"Kind of hungry," Kris says after a moment of thought, swaying a little. "God. I forgot how this feels."

Sliding an arm around his waist, Adam steadies him. "Kind of adorable and weird at the same time," Adam says, catching his chin and checking the blown pupils thoughtfully. "You're never this relaxed."

"I'm totally laid-back," Kris answers defensively, gripping the front of Adam's shirt with one fisted hand. "Really laid back. What's up with Alex?" Before Adam can respond to that--and God knows, that deserves something--Kris pushes himself unsteadily onto his toes, frowning. "You're stupidly tall, you know?"

Adam squints at him. "That's--sorry?"

"No, just--" Kris steps back and pushes him; abruptly, Adam finds himself sitting on the bed and Kris grinning at him, shyly triumphant. "Better."

Adam narrows his eyes as Kris straddles his lap, hands braced on his shoulders. Kris bites his lip, faintly uncertain, which he shouldn't be, not ever, but certainly not with Adam. Cupping his hips, Adam jerks him closer and catches the gasp in a kiss. The tension melts almost instantly, and Kris opens his mouth, short nails sliding up the side of Adam's neck before settling in his hair.

Pulling back, Adam brushes a kiss against the corner of his mouth, mouthing gently along the edge of his jaw. "You jealous, baby?" he murmurs, threading his fingers through Kris' hair and drawing his head back enough to press a soft kiss just below his jaw. Kris presses into it with a little sigh. "Shh," he says, breathing on the newly-wet skin to make Kris shiver, sucking at the smooth skin, giving Kris a brush of teeth. "I'll accept answers of yes or no only, no essays allowed. Are you?"

"Yeah," Kris whispers, sounding surprised. "I think I am."

"You don't have anything to worry about," Adam answers, pleased, pressing his palm against the small of Kris' back, skin soft and a little damp. "You always like this when you're high?" Tilting Kris' head forward, Adam bites his lip hard, and Kris shudders, hips jerking minutely. "Are you?"

"Not--not really? Usually I just--fell asleep." Kris' eyes fall shut when Adam runs his nails up his spine, arching helplessly. Intrigued, Adam pushes them in, letting Kris feel the edges and draws them back down, slow, and Kris catches his breath, hands tightening reflexively, head tipping backward. Adam takes the invitation to lick along his collar, settling at the sensitive join of shoulder and neck to suck another slow kiss, tasting the faint remains of soap and new sweat before catching the soft skin between his teeth.

"God," Kris breathes, cock pressing insistently against Adam's stomach. Faintly, Adam hears something that sounds like metal sliding on metal, but Kris is ducking down, mouth soft and a little frantic, sucking on Adam's tongue desperately before mouthing along his cheek and pressing a sucking kiss just below his jaw. Tightening his hold on Kris' hair, Adam closes his eyes, fighting the urge to push Kris down on the bed, feel all that barely leashed, frantic need beneath him.

"I bet," Adam says against Kris' ear, "that you could be very bendy for me. Couldn't you?" Kris make an inarticulate sound, sucking harder before his tongue licks over the skin, almost in apology.

Opening his eyes, Adam sees Jared standing at the slightly open glass doors. It's not really a surprise; Adam vaguely thinks they may have been in here a little too long for any reasonable explanation to cover. It should be a surprise, though, that Adam wants him to watch. Kris lifts his head at the first sharp pull, and Adam kisses him again, opening his mouth, easy and sweet and addictively good, even just this. "You ready to go, baby?" Adam says between soft kisses, not quite able to keep from drawing it out for a few more seconds; that part's not for Jared's benefit.

Kris nods, resting his forehead against Adam's shoulder with a little sigh. Cupping the back of his neck, Adam looks at Jared. "Tell Leah we'll see her tomorrow night," Adam says, easing Kris to his feet and straightening his shirt and hoodie. Kris glances at Jared briefly, adding, "And call me with the time, okay?" before obediently following Adam's tug on his wrist. "Later."

The party's mostly winding down, and there's appreciably less clothing in some parts of the room. Adam takes out his phone to call Jim; he and the band's security were playing poker last time he checked, and Jim's probably won this year's salary. "You awake?" Adam asks as Kris leans against him, making vaguely settled sounds.

"Sure." Making the effort, Kris straightens, eyes slitting open to watch Jim bring the car. "Mostly. I'm still hungry."

"No surprise." Easing Kris in the car, Adam opens google and starts searching for anything that can be delivered in the next ten minutes. Hotel pizza is hideous. "How do you feel about pizza?" His trainer is never going to forgive him.

Kris' leans over, chin digging into his shoulder as he squints at the screen. "Unsurprisingly positive. Get extra cheese."




eighth part

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I can always tell when I'm hungry when I'm writing; people start eating a lot in my fic.

Thanks!

I know you've had many comments that gesture towards this, but it bears repeating: I like this precisely because it is quite difficult. Nothing fits comfortably, nothing is easy in that overly-bright-candy-colored kind of way. And that's what makes the entire thing so compelling, from quiet not-quite-sweet moments on a beach to this chapter that starts with a a real, honest to goodness fight. I love that neither Kris nor Adam are anything but what they are, bad impulses, good impulses, annoyances and all.

In other words, this is a stunningly great read. There's a vicious joy in it all. Thanks.

Thank you very much! It's hard to write fights without going over the top, so it's the one place I get nervous, since real fights are usually over the top, which doesn't translate to fic well. So I'm really glad that worked.

Thanks again! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

(Deleted comment)
before i get all the way through this, i just wanted to point out two things (and i hate to, but i'm neurotic like this D:);

he can't keep his feet anymore

keep on his feet?

"Says the boy who's guitar hobby has its own credit card."L

whose, maybe? it's been 9 months since AP english, but i'm pretty sure whose is the possessive


now that that's out of the way, BRB READING THE REST AND FLAILING SOME MORE ALSKDJF ILU

. . . and ignore that random L, i'm not used to this keyboard yet :(

I still love this. I'm torn between my desire for you to hurry this up (since I'm still rooting for Adam and I want to see if he gets what he wants) and my dread of this being over. Maybe you could promise a million more words? I'm sure I could stop worrying then.

*G* Thank you! God knows, i didn't think it would take 32K to tell this one and still not quite there. Just. Wow.

nghhhhhhkdlsfjkafjdskf. LKDSJFALKSDJ. alsjkdf lksajdf lkJ FLKASDJF DKjdklJKDJFkdjsf

and i lovelovelove how you write them, jsyk. ik a lot of people probably tell you this, but you write them as imperfect, full of faults, realistic fighting, realistic everything. you write them human, which is surprisingly rare and hard to do, and i appreciate it sosososo much. and that last section, HOLY SHIT, this comment would probably be a lot more articulate and coherent if not for that, way to break my brain >:( loved it all, as usual, can't want for more :*

I like inarticulate comments. *purrs* And thanks so much! I'm glad people are patient with it. It's kind of a long cocktease at this point.

hmmnn, hazy, fuzzy stoned kisses, i completely approve! and showing jared who kris belongs with is a bonus! love cale and tommy and their love for their guys.

LOL, you totally got me with adams reward for going to the club.....

"What have you wanted to do to me since the first time you looked in the closet in our room at the mansion?"



*g* I love Adam jumped to "dressing him appropriately".

Thanks very much!

Between the Saints winning the Superbowl and this story getting updated, tonight's one of the best nights ever. I didn't expect the update since the last one wasn't that long ago, but hey, I'm not complaining! I'm just thrilled that you're feeling ~inspired with this story. I love it so freakin' much. Adam and Kris' "casual" makeout sessions are making my toes curl in delight. Favorite WIP for sure! <33

Madelyn just got on gleeing at the win too. *g* Thanks very much! I'm glad you enjoyed!

SQUEEE! You did it! With the visiting in Vegas! And the band! And pissy Rock Star Adam! And pissy Musician Kris! And also Jared, who I kind of feel sorry for but not really...

And Adam gets to dress Kris for the club! Which I can't WAIT for! And Kris with his grown out hair and cuddly, affectionate tendencies!

*flailing* This is SO freakin' good!

*grins* Thank you very much! I hoped this was what you were looking for.

I don't think I've comment yet, but I've been following this story, waiting patiently for each new part, and I honestly have no words. Seriously. Everytime I finish an update, I'm speechless. You paint them as such humans, and you've taken the characters in directions no author in this fandom has before. I don't think I want this to ever end, I want to live in this world you've created with them forever. Flawless, stunning, gorgeous, achingly hot. Just, ugh, perfection.

Thank you very, very much!

okay seriously ?? this is very quickly climbing my chart of awesomest fics (and trust me ur in veryvery good company at the top) :D

"You should take Adam back," Kris says sincerely. "Your girlfriend wouldn't mind. She's cool."

"God, when you say that in that drawl, it's like watching an angel lose its wings," Tommy answers as Adam blinks between them in alarm.


lol Mom yelled at me to go to bed when i laughed out loud at this (i'm 33 ffs lol)

soooo cannot wait for more, but do NOT want this to end. I agree with the other poster that maybe if you promised a million more words we might not revolt when the story is done lol

<3 u <3 them <3 this

*dies laughing* Thanks very much!

(Deleted comment)
I have no idea where this story is going, but I really love it. Their friendship is so complicated, and you've done an amazing job of showing how their other relationships complicate it even more.

And that last kissing scene is so hot. Just kissing but it's...idk amazing. This feels like watching Lost, where I just want to know all the answers but I'm also just really enjoying the ride.

Thank you very, very much!

UNF. Also guh. And even when they're being hot they are so SWEET, goshdarnit *cuddles them*

I know, they are. It kind of kills me. *g* Thank you!

I was just rec'd this. I'm not even half-way done with this chapter (which I'm reading first because this is what was linked for me) and I'm making grabby hands in glee. I'm hoping there is nothing to do at work tomorrow because this? Needs to be read in totality.

Thanks very, very much!

ugh, I'm supposed to be writing a paper, but this was so worth the extra time I'm going to be up. Great part, I'm really liking this slow drift from complicated friends into just plain complicated.

*G* Yeah, they're quickly getting to complicated, period. Thanks very much!

I want pizza now... oh, it's 1:30 am. That explains it.

\o/ Stoned!Kris OMG <3

*giggleS* I do too. A lot.

Thanks very much!

you know you think about a fic way too much when you see a recent picture of one of them and one of your immediate thoughts aside from "so cute!" is "whoa, this is kind of how i picture him in so-and-so's story..." 'cause, yeah, totally happened with your story today when i saw this recent picture of exhausted!kris (and i still feel kiiinda sorta bad because he looks like death warmed over, yet i'm all "jfc, how adorable is he here" -- i have a feeling that this is what your adam in this story tends to go through.)

i don't know what else to say because i think if i keep blabbering on like i have done, i'll end up being one mess of complete redundancy. so, yeah, awesome stuff as usual. i'm amazed at how real you try to keep this and actually pull it off, it just makes it better and even more enjoyable to read.

and i will also say this, omfg, kris and fishnets and highheels... the mental image i'm getting is so stupid and presh, hahahaha. and please, please, please tell me you've seen kris' stupid, lulzy self in those wings and glittery platform boots. because, seriously, lolol.

*pets Kris* Oh man, poor baby. I want to give him soup.

Thanks very, very much!

I could read about your Kris and Adam's friendship and not-so-casual makeouts for the rest of time, holy crap. I feel like they're right on the edge here, ready to tip over, from their vicious fighting to the utter relief they felt when they made up. Compelling stuff.

I really love when I refresh my flist and see this pop up. :D Great, great work.

I figure they are the types that might slip into truly vicious fighting in something like this.

Thank you very much!

"I bet," Adam says against Kris' ear, "that you could be very bendy for me. Couldn't you?" Kris make an inarticulate sound, sucking harder before his tongue licks over the skin, almost in apology.

yes, kris can be very bendy...

Photobucket

i am loving this story. omg the image of kris in fishnets and stilettos is lulzy and adam dressing kris is unf (can't wait for that...)

i'm loving their not-so-friendly make-out sessions (seriously, where can i find a hot friend to make out with every once in awhile?). and the fight i particularly loved b/c it shows how stubborn both of them can be and in my experience you only fight with people you care about and that argument and the make-up embodied so much of how they care about each other :)

anyways, can't wait for more!

Thanks very much!

I was really wary on writing that fight; I wasn't sure if it would go over the top or not. I'm thrilled it worked.

Arrrrrgh, this slow tease is driving *me* insane, so I can't imagine what it's doing to the boys.

Adore you. Adore this story. This is not news. ;-)

Yeah, they've been foreplaying for a while now. *winces*

Thanks very much!

I love this fic! Kris in fishnets and stilettos thank you for that image!

I just adore this. It's so real. Each time a new part comes out, I read the last part just because I want to read for longer.

*g* Thanks very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

So they're still not talking about the fight from 2 months ago in which Adam made it clear he trusts Brad more than Kris, their kissing is getting less friendly and more heated, Kris is jealous of Alex (at least, I think they were talking about Alex; is Adam still seeing Alex?) and Kris was unconcerned with Jared seeing them and possibly telling someone within earshot of the press. Hmm. Yeah, complicated is a word for it.

I think Adam forgets about Alex for long stretches of time. That's not a good habit to pick up. Yeah, complicated is definitely a word for it.

I am seriously loving that every time I manage to find an internet connection, there's more of this. I like having something good to read before bed. :)

*g* Thank you very much! I'd been planning to post last night anyway, but when I got your feedbak on the last part, I tried to hurry and get it up so you could grab it if you had time.

This story is really wonderful! I feel like Kris and Adam are two bodies orbiting each other and with each revolution they're pulled closer and closer together until . . . KABAMM! At least, I hope there will be an awesome KABAMM moment :)

And can I say how ridiculously hot I find their dynamic to be in this story? Kris just seems so eager to give up control in his encounters with Adam, and Adam is happy to take it from him. First that little scene on the countertop with Adam holding Kris's wrists and now the bendyness . . . Guh.

I love that their relationship is complicated and changeable, and I don't mind being teased a bit more- I don't want this story to end :)

This story is really wonderful! I feel like Kris and Adam are two bodies orbiting each other and with each revolution they're pulled closer and closer together until . . . KABAMM! At least, I hope there will be an awesome KABAMM moment :)

Pretty much I think that's what's happening? Plus, once you've done something, and found out you're okay with it, it's just so much easier to keep doing it.

And can I say how ridiculously hot I find their dynamic to be in this story? Kris just seems so eager to give up control in his encounters with Adam, and Adam is happy to take it from him. First that little scene on the countertop with Adam holding Kris's wrists and now the bendyness . . . Guh.

*glee* Thank you. That has been--interesting.

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

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